By John Ruberry
While Da Tech Guy was technical hiatus, former Illinois Republican congressman Joe Walsh announced his presidential run, which is why I’m only now weighing in.
I’ve had mixed feelings over the years on Walsh, who was part of the GOP Tea Party wave in 2010 but was essentially gerrymandered out of office by Illinois Democratic Party boss Michael Madigan. His triumph, without any Illinois Republican Party financial support over Democratic incumbent Melissa Bean was a shocker, many people viewed his chances of winning as dismal because of a then-ongoing child support dispute with his ex-wife and a lawsuit, since settled, from his onetime campaign manager over fees he said were owed to him.
The only positive thing I heard during that 2010 race about Walsh was from my wife. She was thoroughly impressed by a speech he gave at a Tea Party event where I live, Morton Grove, Illinois. She predicted, “He’s going to win.”
Always listen to your spouse.
During his single term in Congress, for the most part I supported Walsh. I met him at a different Tea Party event and I was impressed that he was familiar with my blog, Marathon Pundit, and what I wrote about him. Still, I always thought he was a bit nutty. But that goes for many politicians of course.
Walsh seemingly found his place in 2013 after when Chicago conservative talk radio station WIND-AM hired him for its coveted afternoon drive-time slot. Early on his show was enjoyable and informative–regularly trashing President Obama on just about everything, including the economy. Salem Radio Network picked up his show for national distribution in 2017, while he was a third-tier talker, his future was still bright.
Then something snapped within Joe. If you are familiar with the 1970s movie, Network, like the mentally unbalanced TV anchorman Howard Beale, Walsh changed. Beale went from decrying big government and big business every night to preaching that the latter wasn’t really bad after all. Then Beale’s ratings dropped. As for Walsh, who was never completely on the Trump Train, earlier this year he began to sprinkle his program with bits of criticism of Trump–which quickly became a flood. I tuned out and so did many of my friends. How many others bailed? I dunno. WIND-AM stopped subscribing to Nielsen in 2016. I listen to other radio shows besides right-wing talkers, it’s a good idea to see what the other side is up to. But like Beale’s later performances, I felt I was being preached at by Walsh, not spoken to. Not fun. So on my way home from work I’d connect my iPod and listen to Mark Levin’s podcasts instead.
Since his announcement, Walsh has been struggling to get noticed, just as the other Republican challengers again Trump have. Those other candidates are another nut-job, former South Carolina governor Mark Sanford, and former Massachusetts governor William Weld, the vice presidential candidate in 2016 on the Libertarian ticket.
Presumably because last week President Trump made his first appearance in Chicago since his election–not surprisingly he trashed the city–Fox 32 Chicago’s Mike Flannery interviewed him this weekend on his Flannery Fired Up program. Playing devil’s advocate, Flannery mentioned the “booming economy” and Friday’s strong jobs report, Walsh countered on the economy, “It was booming under Obama.” Which one is true, Joe? What you said this weekend about Obama, or your unilateral condemnations of Obama as president, including of course on the economy?
No one should take Walsh seriously as a presidential candidate.
And then there is this Tweet.
Unemployment ticks up to 9.2% in June. RT if you think President Obama is failing the American people on jobs & the economy.— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) July 8, 2011
And then this one:
Actually, it’s better to have the economy in the care of the American people, as far away as possible from the destructive hands of government. Unlike Obama, Trump understands this. https://t.co/0QOMxXFEDe— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) December 18, 2017
But we will still be hearing from Walsh every now and then; the mainstream media, which mocked him for years, fell in love with Walsh after he announced his campaign against Trump, I mean that he is running for president. With the anti-Trump media it’s all about hating the president.
Oh, I did say Walsh was “a bit nutty,” right?
Obama is a Muslim— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) January 1, 2017
Happy New Year!
John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.